Grateful Mom Gives Back

It was June 4, 1979. Jay Martin was born seven weeks early with a bladder obstruction that was causing kidney failure. And his mom was terrified.

“Right after I had Jay, the nurses whisked him away. I was crying and the young doctor with me was crying. They told me there was a good chance that he would not make it through the night,” Dee recalls.

Jay was rushed from Good Samaritan Hospital to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cincinnati Children’s. Jay had three surgeries and spent a good portion of his first four years of life at the hospital. When Dee thinks back to those early days with her first-born son, her memories are bittersweet.

“When I had Jay, he was so sick, and I was traumatized,” Dee says. “But the doctors and nurses were wonderful. I remember thinking how lucky we were to be at Cincinnati Children’s and hoping that someday I could afford to give back to this hospital.”

Now age 31, Jay has only a scar on his abdomen to remind him of his difficult start. And now, three decades later, his mom’s long-held wish to give back to the medical center has come to fruition. Dee recently gave a generous gift to help Cincinnati Children’s care for the next generation of fragile infants.

“I’m so happy I’m in a position now to help Cincinnati Children’s,” Dee says.

Improving Future Family-Centered Care

When Jay was a tiny patient at Cincinnati Children’s, the NICU consisted of one large room with many patient beds. Today, the environment is quieter and more private with only seven beds per pod (general care areas), 11 private rooms, and three isolation rooms for children highly susceptible to infection or contagious themselves.

Yet, as a national referral center with more than 700 patients each year, more space is needed to provide the caregivers sufficient space to do their job effectively. And families need privacy as they learn to care for their baby’s unique needs before they go home.

“As a level III-C NICU, we provide care for the very sickest babies. Children are sometimes here for many months or even a year, which can make it very hard on families,” explains James M. Greenberg, MD, associate director of the Perinatal Institute.

To address these needs, the NICU will undergo a three-phase renovation over the next several years, with six private rooms added in the initial stage. It is the generosity of donors like Dee that help make these types of improvements possible.

Jay is pleased at his mother’s gift. “Cincinnati Children’s is the reason that I’m here today. I’m forever indebted to the medical center and everyone who helped me live,” he says. “My mother’s contribution is fantastic.”

You can make an impact in the life of a sick child simply by making a gift to Cincinnati Children’s.

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